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Coleraine not wasting energy on talk of winning league title, insists Kearney

By Graham Luney

Oran Kearney has revealed that the prospect of winning the Irish League title has not been mentioned at all in the Coleraine in the dressing room.

Kearney's comments come ahead of today's Danske Bank Premiership top of the table clash between the Bannsiders and Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

After 13 games, Coleraine remain unbeaten in the league having amassed an incredible 37 points from 39. Glenavon are enjoying a fantastic season themselves and are eight points behind the leaders with a game in hand.

Crusaders are back in third, 11 points adrift of Coleraine with champions Linfield a massive 13 points behind. Both have played one game fewer than Kearney's men who have been outstanding and are now tipped by some respected pundits as title favourites.

Kearney, though, refuses to get ahead of himself, insisting that in the Irish League anything can happen.

"There's so many games to play and I've seen it before where things can turn in this league in a two or three-week spell and you can easily be caught," Kearney told the Danske Bank Premiership show on Cool FM's Facebook.

"It's (the title) not something that is in on our psyche at the moment. It's not something that has been discussed in the dressing room.

"It hasn't come up in team talks. I've no issue with fans dreaming and saying what if but from a player's point of view it hasn't been."

On the extraordinary run of current form, Kearney added: "We got momentum building up to last season's Irish Cup final. That momentum rolled into Europe and pre-season and from there we have kicked on and I have to give great credit to the players. They have been fantastic.

"We have a lot of players in our team who have been in a relegation battle or down near the bottom and know how quickly things can turn. That experience will stand the players in good stead where we are at the moment.

"You look at how Linfield reeled Crusaders in last season and David Healy and Stephen Baxter have been around for a long time and Gary Hamilton at Glenavon as well to know a huge amount of football is still to be played and no one will be get carried away."

Kearney has watched Glenavon with interest this term and been impressed with what he has seen, though that won't stop him going all out for another victory this afternoon.

"Along with Linfield and Crusaders, Glenavon are the stand-out team that we have faced this season.

"We'll go to Glenavon and approach the game in the same way as we have approached every other game this season. We will be positive and look to get the three points."

Intriguingly Kearney pointed out that he would not want a documentary team following his players around as was the case with Crusaders last season, with the results screened on BBC television last month.

Kearney said: "I found it interesting. It was a great insight and a really enjoyable programme but for my own changing room it wouldn't be something I would want to do. Fair play to Crusaders for doing it but it wouldn't be something I would do."

Meanwhile, Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton says he hopes his men can taste that winning feeling this afternoon.

"To me every game is a big game and we try to win every game.

"This will likely be the biggest crowd of the season so far at Mourneview and probably the biggest crowd the boys have played in front of this season, so from the crowd perspective it is probably the biggest," Hamilton told the club's website.

"Hopefully we get a good crowd and, as they have been in big matches before, they'll be a big benefit and help to us.

"We need the supporters to get behind us and help the boys and be like an extra man for us.

"We know from having had Coleraine watched that their fans have been an extra man for them in a lot of games and helped them through some tough games when they maybe weren't getting it as easy.

"Hopefully our fans can do the same for us in this game.

"The boys have reacted well to the defeat at Coleraine and have gone unbeaten in the league since so they've come out of it well and hopefully we can go and show what they're all about and put in another good performance."

Belfast Telegraph

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